Holding a lantern to light the way, Thrace descended the pitted granite steps into the dungeon. Where the stairs opened into the entry chamber, she looked up to see a man in conjurer's robes peering at a sculpted archway that led into a corridor exit to the right. The conjurer let out a gasp and fled into another corridor further along the wall on the same side.
“Run away, magic-user,” she called after him, “before I put a quarrel in your mouth!”
Readying the crossbow, she muttered under her breath, “A curse on the class,” and stepped forward to see what the conjurer had been looking at. The carved head of a cyclops stared down at her from the keystone, its wide mouth full of sharp teeth, its one eye large and lidless. In the eye, Thrace saw the flash of an image. An inert body bathed in blood, its eyes–her own eyes–staring into the void. A cold chill ran from the base of her spine up the back of her neck.
The fighting-woman shook her head to clear her mind of the image, but she couldn't shake the cold that now invested her bones.
On the opposite side of the chamber, between two archways that mirrored those on this side, stood a statue upon a squat pedestal. Approaching, she saw that it was of a man. The head, smashed on one side, faced forward. The shoulders were raised but the arms had been broken off. It was dressed in a long loose garment of stone that flowed around its feet. Engraved runes on the pedestal were partially effaced.
Shivering from the cold, Thrace examined the floor around the pedestal for indication that it had been moved. Seeing none, she set down the lantern and slung the crossbow over a shoulder.
“The effort will warm me,” she said, and with both hands on the pedestal, she tried to move it.
“There is nothing of value beneath the statue,” came a smooth voice from behind her.
She jerked around to see the speaker. The conjurer reentered the chamber by the corridor beneath the cyclops head. Hands open, palms up, he spread his arms as in warm greeting.
The image of her blood-bathed body flashed again in her mind, then faded, as the cold left her bones. The idea occurred to her that perhaps this magic-user was different...